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Pomegranate (Punica Granatum L.) Breeding

  • Doron Holland
  • Irit Bar-Ya’akov
Chapter

Abstract

Pomegranate ( Punica granatum L; Punicaceae), is a unique fruit tree with showy edible and healthful fruit which symbolizes fertility and abundance. Breeding of deciduous fruit trees was based until recently on a combination of intuition and science. The development of high throughput sequencing and mapping techniques changed the equation and enable efficient introduction of new scientific tools in breeding. Pomegranate breeding is expected to benefit much as the pomegranate tree is most suitable for genetic analysis. Pomegranate has a short juvenile period, high number of progeny formation by a single genetic cross and is a diploid plant. Indeed, in a relatively short period of time, several transcriptomes from different pomegranate tissues including leaves, fruits and flowers were assembled, the genome was determined and the phylogenetic structure of several collections in different geographical locations was resolved. In parallel with the dramatic development in pomegranate genomics, increased economic interest in the fruit and its products resulted in the establishment of several breeding centers in countries such as Spain, Israel, Turkey Iran, the USA, China and India. The next challenge is now to integrate the data from the scientific achievements into the practice of pomegranate breeding. As genetic engineering is still not efficient for most plants, it is expected that in the short term breeding of new pomegranate cultivars will be based on classical breeding or on marker-assisted selection (MAS). Despite the prominent progress in pomegranate genomics, functional analysis and identification of genes involved in important agricultural traits were achieved in only very few cases in pomegranate. Finding genetic markers or important genes for fruit quality, content of healthful compounds and resistance to pests and diseases could be among the achievable challenges.

Keywords

Pomegranate Breeding Germplasm Biodiversity Molecular genetics Fruit Genome Genetic mapping Orchards 

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Unit of Deciduous Fruit Tree SciencesNewe Ya’ar Research Center, Agricultural Research OrganizationRamat YishayIsrael

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